Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarships
- Tax-Credit Scholarship
- Enacted 2011
- Launched 2013
The Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship program offers individuals and businesses a 50 percent tax credit tax credits for donations to scholarship-granting organizations (SGOs), nonprofits that provide private school scholarships to students who meet the income and/or zoning requirements as well as “educational improvement grants” to public schools. Learn more about the program, including funding, eligibility and regulations, on this page.
We do not administer this program.
Participating Students (2018–19)
of Families with Children Income-eligible Statewide
Scholarship Organizations (2019–20)
Participating Schools (2018–19)
Average Scholarship Value (2018–19)
Value as a Percentage of Public School Per-student Spending
Oklahoma’s Equal Opportunity Education Scholarships Participation
For students without an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), scholarships may be worth up to $5,000, or 80 percent of the average per-pupil expenditure in the assigned public school district, whichever is greater. For students with special needs who attended a public school with an IEP, the scholarship is worth up to $25,000.
Students are eligible if they either live in households with incomes up to 300 percent of the free and reduced-price lunch program ($154,013 for a family of four in 2021–22) or attend or live in the attendance zone of a public school designated by the state as “in need of improvement.” Once a student has received a scholarship, that student and his or her siblings remain eligible until high school graduation or age 21.
EdChoice Expert Feedback
Oklahoma’s tax-credit scholarship program for low- and middle-income students helps thousands of students access schools that are the right fit for them, but policymakers could do more to expand educational opportunity.
Students are eligible to receive a scholarship if they are from a household earning up to 300 percent of the free and reduced-price lunch program (the equivalent of 555 percent of the federal poverty line, or $154,013 for a family of four in 2022-23) or attend or live in the attendance zone of a public school designated by the state as “in need of improvement.” More than four in five Oklahoma students are eligible to receive a scholarship via this program. Statewide, less than 1percent of students participate in one of Oklahoma’s private educational choice options (including the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for Students with Disabilities).
The average scholarship size is about $2,000, which is only about 22 percent of the average expenditure per student at Oklahoma’s district schools, though the cap on scholarship values is somewhat higher ($5,000 for most students and $25,000 for students with special needs). Tax credits are worth 50 percent to 75 percent of the value of the contributions to scholarship organizations, but only $25 million in tax credits are available annually, which is equivalent to only 0.84 percent of Oklahoma’s total K–12 revenue.
In order to expand access to educational choice, Oklahoma policymakers should significantly increase the amount of available tax credits and expand eligibility to all students. The program could also be converted into an education savings account to ensure that all students have access to the education that’s the right fit for them, whether private school or a customized course of education.
Oklahoma’s scholarship program generally avoids unnecessary and counterproductive regulations.
Rules and Regulations
- Income Limit: 300 percent x FRL
- Prior Year Public School Requirement: None
- Geographic Limit: Statewide
- Enrollment Cap: None
- Scholarship Cap: Conditional
- Testing Mandates: None
- Credit Value: 50 percent / 75 percent
- Per Donor Credit Cap: $1,000 (single) / $2,000 (married) / $100,000 (business)
- Total Tax Credit Cap: $25 million (private school scholarships)
- Use at least 90 percent of contributions for scholarships
- Register as an SGO with the state
- Spend a portion of expenditures on scholarships for students who qualify for the free or reduced-price lunch program ($49,025 for family of four in 2021–22) in an amount equal or greater to the percentage of eligible low-income students in the state
- Ensure scholarships are portable during the school year and can be used at any qualified school that accepts the eligible student
- Conduct background checks on employees and board members
- Maintain full and accurate records on contributions, expenditures and other documentation required by the state
No legal challenges have been filed against the program.